2012 NWPL: Finals Day 1
April 26, 2012 4 Comments
During the regular season Melbourne won both matches against Sydney University by winning last period. But in the first match of the Finals between these teams that scenario was reversed.
After the 3rd quarter the score was 5-all. Three goals scored by Thomas Whalan, one by Trent Franklin and one by American centre-forward, Zac White, kept SU in the match until that point.
Early into the last period SU went to a 6:5 lead through a beautifully developed extra-man opportunity. With 6 minutes to go, Trent Franklin had a one-on-one 100% scoring opportunity but Carl Zvekan saved that shot. Shortly after Franklin rehabilitated himself by scoring a ‘5 meter shot’ goal and then SU converted another x-man through a fine shot by Lachlan Hollis when the ball hit the edge of the upright and went inside the goals. With 4 minutes to go SU had another power-play but Alistair Visch’s poorly executed shot prevented them from extending their lead to 4 goals. Instead, Melbourne’s Ryan Moody earned a penalty that was converted by Sam McGregor and Matt Martin scored an individual centre-forward goal when SU’s Clayton Whittaker was marking him.
At that moment it looked like Melbourne would come back but a long-distance shot by New-Zealander, Tom Kearns, caught Carl Zvekan by surprise – he was not helped by Slovakian, Thomas Bruder, who was in front of the shooter. With 1 minute 22 seconds to go the score became 9:7 in SU favour who managed to defend that lead until the end of the match.
X-man: SU 7/2 (29%) Melbourne 6/3 (50%)
Penalty: SU 1/1 Melbourne 1/1
Referees: Andrew Carney and Daniel Bartels
Coach and players’ comments –
– Jeff Barrow, Victoria Tigers’ Head-coach:
A very disappointing performance. Our defence leaked far too many goals and our attack lacked consistency and penetration. We were too predictable in offence. Our defence failed at some crucial times especially when we were two goals ahead. Sydney Uni stayed committed and deserved the win.
– Sam McGregor (VT):
Quite simply, today when we executed our systems well we played well and when we deviated from our core objectives they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. The game was definitely our’s to win but we weren’t able to stay composed once we were up by 2 in the third quarter.
– Lachlan Hollis (SU):
It was a tough physical game with both sides fighting until the final whistle. We were able to have a better start than in past matches and were able to string 3 1/5 quarters together. After a 3 goal lead in the 4th we allowed Victoria to crawl back to within 1 goal due to a lapse in defence. These lapses have cost us games in the past and if we are serious about winning this National League we can’t afford to have these errors creep into our game. We have been working immensely on our X-man attack and defence in training, and it is continually improving which is another promising aspect of our game. However, there is still room for improvement. The win gives us a lot of confidence and gives us a platform to work from through out the finals.
– Luke Gavin (VT):
A disappointing start to our finals series losing to Sydney Uni. Their defense was very good limiting our opportunities to score. They were able to crash back and steal the ball from our centre forwards and we didn’t have the attacking power to shoot through their zone. We must play a lot better to win against Brisbane tomorrow and make the top 4.
Sydney University V Brisbane Barracudas
Sydney Uni’s second game on day 1 was against the runners up in the regular season, Brisbane Barracudas, who were considered one of the favourites of the Final series. The game ended in a draw but the Queenslanders were lucky to achieve that result. With 2.41 minutes before the end of the match the Lions were leading 10:8. Had they played a bit more conservatively, they may have avoided the penalty awarded to Barracudas with 2.18 minutes remaining in the match, which Barras converted to reduce the goal difference to 10:9. SU had an extra-man opportunity in the last minute, but they failed to convert, whilst Brisbane scored theirs with 23 seconds remaining for a final score 10:10.
X-man: SU 7/1 (14%) Brisbane 11/5 (46%)
Penalty: SU 1/1 Brisbane 2/2
Referees: Daniel Flahive and Meagan Varlow
These results allowed Sydney University to secure a place in the semi-finals. Most of their players have stepped up in their performance compared to the regular season. Goalkeeper, Daniel Lees, deserves special mention. He played very well and was one of the reasons for his team’s good results so far. However, it is the veterans, Thomas Whalan and Trent Franklin, who are doing a great job – as they were throughout the entire 2012 season – consolidating the team through their competent overall actions as well as individual skills.
Thomas Whalan missed the last international season after many years on the roster due to family and work commitments. He is gaining form now which is evident in his performance today.
Trent Franklin was not included in the National team either for the World League or World Championships last year. One year before the London Olympics, he was also not named in the Olympic squad. As far as I am concerned, there is no reasonable explanation for this decision. Even though he is not as fit as he would be if he was a candidate to the Olympic team, he played better than some of the current National squad members both in the Melbourne and Brisbane teams.
If I was National coach, I would have kept Trent in the squad to press for the Olympics. Given his experience, he would surely have been one of the more serious contenders. Whether he made it or not would have been decided closer to July 2012. His presence in the squad would have been a positive as it would have brought more competition and, in any event, would have been good for the younger players’ development. It was wrong not to have Trent Franklin in the Olympic squad.
The other results on day 1 are:
Drummoyne 7 : 8 Melville
X-man: Drummoyne 3/2 (67%) Melville 7/3 (43%)
Penalty: Drummoyne 0 Melville 2/1
Referees: Adam Richardson and Daniel Flahive
In my view, there were at least 2 instances when referees made wrong calls. Once it was Melville who did not receive a penalty when Daniel Lawrence had a one-on-one break at the end of the third quarter. The second was a clear exclusion that was not given to Drummoyne with 10 seconds remaining before the end of the match that Drummoyne lost by 1 goal.
Drummoyne’s Head-Coach is Dmitry Gorshkov who won Bronze at the Barcelona-1992 and Silver at the Sydney-2000 Olympic games. Dmitry was captain of the Russian national team and one of the best drivers in the world in the 1990-2000s. He made the following after-match comments:
I can’t understand why from such a large pool of referees, for our game against Fremantle Australian Water Polo cannot allocate independent referees. I have nothing personal against Adam Richardson, but why should Australian Water Polo allocate Richardson to us: a person who has just stopped playing for Fremantle, a person who’s home team and city is Fremantle and whose brother plays for them? Regardless, if it is intentional or subconsciously – one will inevitably end up helping their home team. What was most interesting in my opinion, is that the calls he made (both in Drummoyne’s favour as in Frematle’s favour) today, I haven’t seen from him all season…
The refereeing during our first game, which was as important to us as it was to Fremantle, gave Fremantle the upper hand for the victory. And here I do not intend to speak only of Adam. I would really like to understand of the Australian referees: How can two official arbitrators of the same game view the exact same situation so completely differently?
To consider the game against Fremantle itself: Drummoyne did not convert a high enough percentage of the opportunities that were presented to us.
I have two questions regarding the organisation of the four days:
1) I cannot understand how during finals, goal judges are not official referees but rather children aged 15 or 16 years of age.
2) Our player’s nose was broken during our second game against Wests. Regardless of the injury sustained by any athlete during a game of our sport, how is it that DURING THE CHAMPIONSHIP THERE IS NO DOCTOR PRESENT?!?!?!!? THIS IS FIRST DIVISION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!!! This player was left to sit on the side of the pool with his nose poring blood! And if someone had sustained an even more serious injury? What kind of immediate medical assistance does the National Federation provide for their athletes during rounds/ tournaments/ finals??? Not even one official person, came by to see that the situation was under control, or wether or not immediate medical assistance was necessary. The only person who bothered to check that everything was under control was a POOL EMPLOYED LIFEGUARD, who probably had nothing more than some rubber gloves with which to assist – but at least he had the intelligence to investigate the situation.
Wests 10 : 5 Drummoyne
X-man: Wests 7/4 (57%) Drummoyne 5/2 (40%)
Penalty: Wests 1/1 Drummoyne 1/1
Referees: Daniel Bartels and Nichola Johnston
Based upon the first days performances Wests and Sydney University are the more likely teams to be in the Grand-Final. Melbourne, Fremantle and Brisbane have not impressed me so far. But it may be that they are just warming up for the next matches. It will be interesting to see how these three teams will play on day 2 of the Finals series.